Mauritania is a Sahel land, strewn between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, where there is an intermix between arabe and Berber cultures. There is much beauty to behold in this country where the colors white and blue of boubou are just stunning.
Marriage has been one of the most important events Mauritanians celebrate with huge delight. Many years back, Mauritanians were not used to celebrate traditional weddings in a grand way which they do today. Back then they did not spend a lot of money, as they did make it as simple as it could be. But, today, with the modernization of culture and tradition, there tends to be some Western effect on the way traditional wedding ceremonies are being held in the country.
Most Mauritanians spend a lot of money on wedding parties, and wealthy families are characterized with spending so much on the event, as a display of joy and affluence.
Above all these, there is one intricate culture that exclusively defines Mauritanian traditional weddings, which is the opposition of regular fashion styles in other parts of Africa and the world at large. As women in the West and most Arab countries traditionally celebrate their marriage in which, which is believed to be the symbol of purity, Mauritanian women do wear black outfit for the wedding. How surprising and interesting this could be. Black, in other parts of Africa, is chiefly reserved for funeral to mourn the dead, but the reverse is the case in Mauritania.
In the country, the bride dons a black robe on the wedding day, which is a custom deeply rooted in Bedouin tradition. However, the grooms get married in white.
The bride looks gorgeous in that attire for the day. This black dress is called Lakhel. This is a richly embroidered cloth of great quality, which starts getting sewn as soon as a girl is born. Not wearing it would be an affront to your tradition and customs. She often wears traditional clothes specific for brides like a black or chocolate-colored veil. Usually, underneath the veil is a dress of the same color. The veil is then always perfumed with a nice smelling traditional perfume. Her hands and feet have to be covered with very beautiful designs made of henna. The bride then complement her style with a colorful, shiny headdress that is called “lerouse.” Also, she wears traditional accessories on her arms, neck, ears, and legs, face beat of make up. In time past, Mauritanian brides did have just eyeliner used to line their eyes. Now, brides use all sort of makeup.
Mauritanian groom also have to wear traditional Mauritanian clothing, which is a well- designed white “dara’a” with a black turban wrapped around his neck. Descriptively, this decorated golden and white embroidered Moorish boubou or Drâa is a kind of long sheet with a hole in order to allow the passage of the head, with two large opened sleeves in either sides. During summer time, when it is very hot, sleeves can be rolled up until shoulders. Pockets are sewed in each side to allow men to put their personal effects in. This boubou can be worn on a saroual and/or a tunic.
In Mauritanian’s traditional wedding, the groom’s social scale is a function of the embroidery, colors, and fabric in which boubou is made. Often times, people with the low budget content themselves with a simple cotton-made Drâa and people with higher economic background do wear Bazin damask boubou. This fabric is primarily characterized by stiffness, brightness, and expensive costs.
Introduced to Africa by Persian invasion, sarouel is rather representative of Africa trousers. Fresh, aerated, black, white and blue, Mauritanian people love to wear it under their boubou. Mauritanian sarouel can go well with a leather black belt which goes outside trousers, and is very soft and fresh to wear, especially during summer time.
Generally, the Mauritanian bride and groom way of dressing gears at reflecting the customs and culture of the country.
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